Ross Asset investors treated for depression

The Ross Asset Management liquidation is taking its toll on investors, with some being treated for depression.

David Ross has now been temporarily stripped of his Institute of Chartered Accountants membership, in an interim suspension decision revealed yesterday by the institute’s disciplinary tribunal.

The Wellington-based financial investment company was placed into liquidation before Christmas amid speculation Mr Ross may have been operating a ponzi scheme.

So far, PwC liquidators John Fisk and David Bridgman have found just $10.2 million in 1720 investor accounts out of a purported $449 million of assets.

Messrs Fisk and Bridgman have since re-employed the company’s two administration assistants to help with the collection and collation of information.

RAM investors’ group spokesman Bruce Tichbon says he knew about the disciplinary review and was not surprised at the outcome.

There is total confusion and fear among many of the 900 investors, he says, and he has been flooded with calls from concerned and confused investors.

“You’ve had this shattering event, it’s pretty cataclysmic in the New Zealand scene and obviously something which shakes the market to its core and taints everyone,” he told NBR ONLINE.

Mr Tichbon says he has heard of a number of investors who have lost a lot of money who have had to be treated by their doctors.

“I’m getting feedback from doctors saying they’ve got terribly depressed clients. One lady came to me and said she went to see her doctor because she was so depressed. She’d basically lost the family farm.

“The doctor said ‘well, I’ve got three other clients in exactly the same position – and they’re worse off than you’. And then I checked with another couple of doctors, and yes they’ve got severe cases of depression they’re dealing with.”

Meanwhile, Mr Tichbon says there needs to be more clarity around the 13 applicants for the liquidation committee.

Messrs Fisk and Bridgman want the committee to assist them and to represent the interests of the investors.

But with just three weeks until applications for the committee close, Mr Tichbon is worried about the candidates’ vested interests.

“People are coming to me and saying they don’t know what the vested positions of these people are. Are they pro- or anti-clawback? And I have had many approaches from people saying they don’t know how to vote.”

He says investors need to know people’s positions and he is quite happy to declare his interest – positive net equity.

“I don’t want to ask if they’re pro-clawback or anti- or neutral. I want to ask what their personal position is because then they have to state a fact as an answer. Those who provide the information can have it put there and those who won’t provide the information will have a blank next to their name.

“People can vote accordingly.”

bcunningham@nbr.co.nz

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